Do you feel somnambulant during the holidays? Sort of like Mommy-zombie. Stumbling around with a TODO list pinned to your shirt, a frozen smile on your lips, and a murmured refrain of “Don’t forget the baby! Don’t forget to shower! Don’t forget the list!” All that murmuring and stumbling causes a time warp of indecision and doubt that ultimately leads to neglecting to buy the turkey or turn on the oven [insert ridiculous lapse of judgement here]. I know. I’ve been there—not done that.
After raising multiple wise-cracking, big hearted, incredibly demanding children, I have found a better way of “doing” the holidays…now I ask for help.
The most crippling part of the holiday season is the feeling that we are in this all alone. Standing at one end of a long, dark tunnel with a Norman Rockwell dining room table laden with perfectly cooked food at the other end…a shimmering mirage of everyone else’s perfect holiday meal. The only thing standing between us and them is that we are REAL HUMANS, and they are a story.
Ditch the story and have yourself a real holiday, complete with bumbling messes, real bonding, and bedhead. Ask your loved ones to help you make a new kind of grateful—one that’s built on real stuff. How? Here are 3 tips for a stress-less holiday season:
1. ACCEPT THE MESS: realize that Uncle Bill is a bit of a zealot who likes to mouth off at the worst times, so sit him in the corner with Aunt Sadie, who’s deaf and doesn’t care. Do a last minute picking up with a laundry basket, which then is shoved in a closet. Your guests will never know that you didn’t put everything away.
2. DELEGATE: I know, if you give the job to someone else, it won’t be done YOUR way…so what? It will be done, and you can take a moment to tame that bedhead. Giving responsibility to kids and spouses shows them that you trust them. All you need to do is delegate and resist the urge to follow behind them to re-do it, because that’s an enormous waste of time and energy. But if you just can’t, then…
3. TAKE THREE DEEP BREATHS: Every time you feel like perfecting one of your delegated tasks, STOP. Take 3 deep breaths, closing your eyes, filling your belly on the inhale and releasing the exhale through your mouth with a big WHOOSH! Notice how your shoulders come out of your ears and your heart rate slows to something less than a panicked deer in headlights. Keep chanting in your head, “I’m creating a peaceful space.”
All of these tips are ways of creating a better NOW. Now is the only moment that matters. You can create a new Holiday tradition: real gratitude for what you have right now. Look at your football watching partner, arguing children, overflowing trash can and repeat after me, “This is my uniquely flawed family, and I’m so glad they’re mine!”If you have any burning thoughts about this, please tell me all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.